While son Geoff was here, he performed twice at Charlestown. Here’s the flyer I produced to promote his performances.
Geoff will demonstrate African, South American, and Caribbean rhythms and songs using traditional drums and the mbira (thumb piano). He will have you clapping, singing with him, and moving to the rhythms as he performs. Come and make music in a global song circle.
Everyone can do it.
On Thursday he performed at RGT, our assisted living facility where Ernie lives.
Here he’s playing the mbira and singing. More about the mbira later.
In the next two clips, he is playing the djembe, demonstrating what the instrument can do and showing off his skill with it.
One of the nursing assistants was dancing in the back of the room and Geoff encouraged her to come forward, for which she got a big round of applause.
Although I missed getting more video, here’s a shot of her being applauded.
What Geoff does is to encourage people to make music with him, to participate. This was too much for many of the assisted living residents, but some of them and all the staff present joined in. Here they’re singing
Kirinya Kirinya, kirinya, ago kirinya
The next day, Friday, Geoff performed in our conference center. I had no idea how many people to expect. Although the flyer said that tickets were required, only about a dozen people had taken tickets. When I decided to cancel, the community resources director asked me to reconsider. She assured me that people show up; they just don’t like to commit themselves ahead of time. Sure enough, 45 people and maybe a few more were present.
Between drumming and singing, Geoff talked about the drums, the music, African and African diaspora history. Here’s he’s describing the mbira.
There was lively audience participation this time. Here we were singing
Solta Mandinga Ay, Solta Mandinga,
Solta Mandinga Ay Que Beleza, Solta Mandinga accompanied by the conga.
Seated in the front row on the far right is grandson Matt, Michael’s son.
Making music was not our only way of having fun. On Thursday Geoff and I had dinner in the Refectory here with three resident friends, including Deb London, whose quilts you’ve seen. Phyl Lansing has traveled in India and Nepal and maintains connections there. Deb and Phil have lived in Japan. Geoff has traveled, studied, and spent time in all those places, so the conversation was lively.
On Friday we went to an Ethiopian restaurant with my two Nigerian friends, Ara and Yemi. They were the first Yoruba-speaking people Geoff has met, though he sings Yoruba songs. This conversation gave him a chance to learn about the intonations of the language. He wants to stay in touch with them.
On Saturday we went to son Pete’s house for a crab feast, and what a crab feast we had. The crabs were big and meaty.
Geoff with his dad, Skip.
And Geoff with his stepmother Cherie. You may remember them as the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts at their Halloween wedding.
Geoff had by far the biggest pile of crab shells when we cleaned up.
After the feast, the music continued. Grandson Noah played for us the repertoire he has prepared for his first recital.
He is being well-trained. I was impressed. But when he invited me to play the piano, I was embarrassed. I haven’t memorized anything yet and I really can’t play anything well enough except the hymns I play for the church service in the care center. I went to the keyboard and played chopsticks, which Noah promptly trumped by playing chopsticks with embellishment. More practice needed here.
I got something else I need, though. Between and around all the other activities, Geoff and I had lots of intimate conversation. Much needed here.
I left him at the airport at 6:00 this morning, thinking that there’s going to be another recovery “first” for me–a plane trip to Seattle